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The Publix Company’s Corporate Culture Case Study

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Updated: Jun 20th, 2020

How focal organization creates value for Publix Customers

Publix’s mission is to be the “premier quality food retailer in the world” (Publix, 2014, p. 376). As a result, it is passionate about customer value and service, reducing waste, promoting dignity, and employment security. In addition, the company devotes itself to the highest standards of stewardship for stockholders and corporate social responsibilities.

Stakeholders

Publix has several stakeholders, both internal and external ones including, employees, customers, suppliers, investors and the community among others. Publix is employee-owned supermarket and therefore, employees must understand their roles in creating value for customers in terms of service provision, as well as creating value for themselves as shareholders. In this regard, employees have direct roles in value creation to customers. Internal stakeholders must ensure that they constantly improve internal processes, such as investing in technologies, employee training, reducing waste, supporting community services and focusing on customer service better than the competition. In addition, employees have ensured that the company succeeds in a highly competitive environment by ensuring less clutter, consistent product placement and faster checkout services.

Business culture

Publix has created a progressive business model that runs on technologies and new initiatives. The company was the first to introduce computerized scanning systems. Today, the company has focused on developing a competitive business culture to ensure acquisition of market shares. At the same time, the company aims to please its customers through superior customer service. According to Publix, its partners understand that they are also “in people business” (Mujtaba & Johnson, 2010, p. 377). Hence, the company must make a positive and lasting impression on its customers and other stakeholders.

Organizational culture

The mission of becoming the premier quality food retailer in the world drives Publix organizational culture (Mujtaba & Johnson, 2010). As a result, the company concentrates on developing Customer Intimacy and ensuring complete customer satisfaction. Employees must ensure that customers are “delighted, satisfied and excited every time they are in Publix retail outlets” (Mujtaba & Johnson, 2010, p. 378). Customer satisfaction has driven major investment decisions in the company and therefore, Publix has invested heavily in excellent customer training services.

Strategy

Today, Publix has improved the use of technology in its retail stores. This could be due to expected return on investment, improved customer service and operational efficiency. Any investment in technologies must maximize returns to the business and ensure customer intimacy. Employees should use such technologies to demonstrate immediate payback through efficiency in customer service, cost reduction and maximizing profits. The company recruits qualified employees who can use new technologies for cost reduction and improving operations at the stores. Some technologies aim to enhance checkouts, data collection for decision-making or provide additional information to customers.

People

People, particularly employees are strategic partner at Publix. Qualities of employees are critical for overall performances of the company and enhancing customer satisfaction. Over the years, Publix has grown in terms of retail stores, sales, and the number of employees. This has been possible because the company focuses on employee recruitment and training as ways of enhancing employee satisfaction in order to achieve superior customer service (Wan, 2007). Publix has leveraged its human resources to provide positive contributions for the success of the supermarket.

Employees have been responsible for total quality management in the retail stores (Vaikos, Jamage, & Tale, 2012). In this regard, the HR department must recruit and retain highly qualified employees to meet the needs of customers at Publix. In addition, the company must engage and train employees on a continuous basis and create a favorable reward system as a means of driving customer service and creating value. Therefore, people have greater responsibility of promoting Publix’s mission.

Publix has recognized that employees are the most important stakeholders in the company (Summer, 2005). As a result, the company has focused on various training methods, rewards, employee-customer interaction and other strategies to ensure that employees have the right skills and information to serve customers effectively.

Publix requires some strategic changes to deliver outstanding value to customers. For instance, the company must continue with employee training in order to equip them with the right skills and knowledge to provide the required customer service and experiences. Employee training is important because it improves employee productivity and reduces staff attrition. If Publix fails to provide employee training, then it will experience high staff attrition, low productivity, poor customer services and increased costs for future training programs. Therefore, the HR department must insist on constant staff training and customer service improvement due to competition.

The company must also improve on the use of technology to deliver exceptional customer value. Today, Publix has enhanced the use of technology in its retail stores, specifically to improve customer service, operational efficiency and maximize returns on investments. In this regard, new technologies will allow the company to deliver exceptional services at relatively lower costs. Employees should use such technologies to demonstrate immediate results through efficiency, cost reduction, and maximizing profits. Employees must be able to use new technologies for cost reduction and improving operations at the stores. Technologies that enhance self-service, checkouts and reduce clutter have been effective for the company. Justifying returns of such technologies could be noticeable if employees and customers could use them to achieve the intended outcomes. In order to realize the impacts of the new technology, the HR department must recruit qualified employees or train them.

Customer value perception and attributes that do not receive adequate attention

Customers at Publix perceive value as superior. There have been several cases of industry rankings and customers have rated Publix highly. For instance, a score of 82 from a possible 100 showed that customers were ‘very satisfied’ with the company’s customer services and value perception. Other ratings have shown that Publix and its competitors have excelled in “checkout speed, cleanliness and service, but not prices” (Mujtaba & Johnson, 2010, p. 386). According to customers, Publix has clean stores with highly trained and friendly employees. Hence, excellent customer service has created positive reputation for the company.

In addition, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has “consistently rated Publix as the highest relative to its competitors” (Mujtaba & Johnson, 2010, p. 387). ACSI focuses on customer satisfaction and consumption experiences. At the same time, it also evaluates customers’ perceptions of value and illustrates how well products and services meet customers’ expectation and whether customers would pay more for them.

There have also been other ratings since 1990s and Publix has led its competitors in the industry. On a scale of a 100-point, the company has demonstrated impressive consistency by scoring higher than its peers score. A rating by Fortune also demonstrated that Publix had excellent customer service and value perception. The company was among the most admired in the US. The ability to create positive customer perceptions and value to shoppers has established Publix as a successful company and a major play in the retail industry. However, the company is relatively small compared to other well-established retail outlets.

Other retail outlets have many stores and much yearly revenues relative Publix. Nevertheless, the company has continued to lead others in terms of yearly sales based on the per square foot sales. For the last 15 years, the company has scored high on customer approval based on ACSI. In addition, the company has been awarded on several categories, including “a caring employer and socially responsible company in which it led the industry” (Mujtaba & Johnson, 2010, p. 387).

Customers’ ratings have shown that prices are major issues at Publix. While superior customer service is a major strategy for attracting many customers, Publix has been able to charge “a little more on its products because some of its customers do not mind paying when they shop in clean stores with well-trained and friendly employees” (Mujtaba & Johnson, 2010, p. 379). This shows that the company’s strategy to focus on excellent customer service has been effective.

Excellent customer service, therefore, is the best platform that can drive revenues to a company. It acts as a growth and high productivity strategy. Customer value perception results from internal processes that organizations create. Publix has been able to achieve it through highly trained employees, investment in technologies and focused leadership.

Publix’s strategies show that a focus on providing superior customer service and employees’ welfare can drive growth in a highly competitive industry. While the company has few stores relative to its competitors, it has been able to be a major competitive force among retail giants. Human resources have ensured that customer perceptions of the company and value creation remain high. As a result, the company has been able to drive revenues steadily.

References

Mujtaba, G. B., & Johnson, W. C. (2010). Publix Super Markets Inc.: Achieving Customer Intimacy. In W. C. Johnson & A. Weinstein (Eds.), Superior Customer Value in New Economy (2nd ed.) (pp. 375-392). New York: CRC Press. Web.

Publix. (2014). Company Overview. Web.

Summer, L. (2005). Employees: your most important stakeholders. Corporate Responsibility Management, 1(5), 2. Web.

Vaikos, P., Jamage, D., & Tale, S. (2012). Total quality management initiative in supermarket and role of HR manager. World Journal of Science and Technology, 2(5), 54-57. Web.

Wan, H. (2007). Human Capital Development Policies: enhancing employees’ satisfaction. Journal of European Industrail Training, 31(4), 297-322. Web.

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